Skip to content

Something urgent? Call us now! (852) 3416 1711

Another step forward’ for LGBT+ rights

‘Another step forward’ for LGBT+ rights

Hong Kong, 12 March 2020: Boase Cohen & Collins Partner Lisa Wong has welcomed a landmark High Court ruling on a judicial review application against the government’s policy of denying legally married same-sex couples the right to apply for public housing.

Mr Justice Anderson Chow ruled the Housing Authority had failed to justify its differential treatment of same-sex couples. It was the latest in a string of high-profile court victories for sexual minorities in their long-running campaign for equal rights.

“The judgment is another step forward for the LGBT+ community,” said Ms Wong. “At a time when many Western nations have legislation supporting inclusivity and diversity, the Hong Kong authorities are still very behind in recognising the rights of sexual minorities. This latest ruling is further evidence that our government needs to quicken the pace of reform.”

Mr Justice Chow allowed a judicial review filed by permanent resident Nick Infinger after the Housing Authority excluded him and his husband from eligibility to apply for a public housing flat. The judge declared that the Housing Authority’s policy was unlawful and unconstitutional for being in violation of Article 25 of the Basic Law and Article 22 of the Bill of Rights. He ordered that the couple’s application be referred back for fresh consideration. The court heard the pair were married in Canada in 2018.

At present, Hong Kong’s definition of marriage, under the marriage ordinance, is of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others. The city does not recognise same-sex marriage but the government is coming under increasing pressure to review its policies.

After a high-profile legal action brought by a British citizen known in court as QT, the Court of Final Appeal ruled in 2018 that couples in civil partnerships and same-sex spouses should be allowed to obtain dependent visas for each other.

The government was defeated again last year when the Court of Final Appeal ruled in favour of gay immigration officer Angus Leung who had filed a legal challenge for his husband to be granted civil service spousal benefits The couple were married in New Zealand in 2014.

Ms Wong added: “It is worth remembering that a report initiated by the Equal Opportunities Commission last summer identified nearly 100 ways that people in same-sex marriages and LGBT+ partnerships are treated differently under Hong Kong law. While this latest High Court judgment is welcome news, Hong Kong still has a long way to go. As a firm, we will continue to assist the LGBT+ community in seeking equal rights and combating discrimination.”

For the past two years, Boase Cohen & Collins has been a title sponsor of Hong Kong’s IDAHOT – the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

Housing PHOTO

Hong Kong lags behind Western jurisdictions in supporting LGBT+ rights.

38+ years of legal experience is just a click away.

Friendly and approachable, we are ready to answer your questions and offer you sound advice.

Contact us now

BC&C-contact-us

News & Knowledge

Learn more about what we do and what we say. Subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you receive our updates.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Home renovations: a call to action

By Alex Liu Hong Kong, 1 March 2024: Stricter regulation of the home renovation sector appears likely following a damning Consumer Council report that unveils widespread malpractice, such as aggressive sales tactics, lack of transparency over costs and shoddy workmanship. The watchdog has recommended improved safeguards, including an accreditation system for firms and standard quotation […]

Read more

A ‘win-win’ for two legal systems

By John Zhou Hong Kong, 27 February 2024: A new law facilitating the reciprocal enforcement of civil and commercial judgments by Hong Kong and Mainland courts has been in place for one month. Many in the legal and business community believe it is a milestone in cross-border co-operation. The Mainland Judgments in Civil and Commercial […]

Read more

Law & More: Episode 37 – Sabrina Ho

Hong Kong, 26 February 2024: In the latest episode of Law & More, we are joined by Sabrina Ho, who is Vice Chair of Council at the historic Helena May in Central. Sabrina tells us about the club’s fascinating history and outstanding record of charitable work, as well as revealing her personal motivation for being […]

Read more

The art of drawing a crowd

Hong Kong, 21 February 2024: Sixty years ago this month, a renowned Gothenburg gallery hosted an exhibition of contemporary paintings by avant-garde artists, including four works by an obscure Frenchman named Pierre Brassau. Critics gushed over his “powerful strokes” delivered with “the delicacy of a ballet dancer”, unaware that Brassau didn’t exist. The paintings had […]

Read more

Avoiding a major event own-goal

By Arthur Chan Hong Kong, 20 February 2024: The fallout from star footballer Lionel Messi’s no-show in Hong Kong has highlighted the pitfalls of organising major sporting and entertainment events. Aside from the risk of reputational and financial damage for stakeholders when a large event encounters a serious problem, there are also legal ramifications to […]

Read more